Abbott begins ‘red tape bonfire’
The federal government has moved to abolish the national charity regulator on the same day dozens of charities and not-for-profit organisations voiced their opposition in an open letter to the prime minister.
Legislation disbanding the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits-Commission was introduced to parliament on Wednesday as part of the government’s first regulatory repeal day.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews argued the commission had failed in its mandate to cut red tape.
As well, many charities and trusts already regulated under state laws now had additional federal reporting requirements.
The commission also had created more bureaucratic burden including information collection, monitoring and compliance.
That was not the best use of commonwealth funds, Mr Andrews said.
If the legislation clears parliament, the commission will be abolished later in 2014 once the details and responsibilities of its successor are approved.
The government plans to replace the commission with a “centre for excellence” that will have no regulatory powers.
Earlier on Wednesday, Anglicare and the St Vincent De Paul Society supported more than 40 community groups calling on the government to reconsider its decision.
In an open letter to Tony Abbott, the heads of the RSPCA, Youth Off The Streets, Lifeline and the Ted Noffs Foundation, argued the commission was doing its job well and with their backing.
“The government would be well advised to listen to the voices of the charitable and not-for-profit sector,” Vinnies chief executive John Falzon said.
Community Council for Australia chief David Crosbie said the government was making a “huge mistake” in returning to the “bad old days” when the Australian Tax Office policed charities.